Craig Clark: The Social Studies Teacher Who Has Done It All


Craig Clark

A Strong Representative: Clark stands proudly on Qatari soil in front of a military exercise. This was one of the many exercises during Clark’s deployment to the Middle East in 2019. Clark was asked (last minute) to fill the shoes as Qatar’s representative to his general. He handled all of the logistics for the Marine Corps and worked in the U.S. Embassy in Doha (in the office of military cooperation). Clark was also able to explore the country culturally and even saw the World Cup being set up three years in advance. “It was really a great experience to be a more well rounded officer, and I learned so much about the Middle East,” Clark said.

Lily Deitch, News Editor

Starting the year with an interview (on a worn student desk and next to a school bathroom) was definitely not what Craig Clark had pictured for his life a year before. In fact, in September of last year, he wasn’t even in the country, let alone working as a teacher. Clark was deployed in the Middle East overseeing operations in Kuwait and Iraq as part of the Marine Corps.

But his story doesn’t stop at being a hero. No, Clark has dipped his foot into every pool you could imagine. From high school teacher and coach, to serving in the Marine Corps, to being a CEO, this man has done it all.

“I think [Clark] brings something to our department that is unique,” Social Studies Coordinator Michael Kraft said. “He’s not somebody who has just…[gone] to college and become a teacher. He’s done things…all over the world.”

And 25 years ago, Clark’s journey to who he is today started here, at Creek, where he attended high school himself. 

Little Clark patterned after the important people in his life and had always been drawn to military service. His father (who was interestingly the best man at Clark’s wedding), fought in the Navy in the Vietnam War. Clark also recalled that several of his boy-scout leaders held military roles. 

“I was in Boy Scouts and speech and debate here and I [thought] about being a teacher or being a lawyer…[and in addition to that,] I was always definitely drawn to military service and the rank structure and the adventure and all those things,”

After learning the term “Judge Advocates” — or attorneys in the military, Clark knew which path he needed to follow. Inspired by this knowledge and his role models, Clark trekked off to college at C.U. and then law school at Wake Forest University. 

But one year into law school had left Clark burnt out. He needed a break from the strenuous pursuits of his education. So, he decided to take a year off and focus on something that he had a genuine interest in: business. 

Clark founded an electronics company in 2001. Like any great business, Clark started by selling printers on eBay, and then continued to grow his company by building a store. He noted that it was a difficult job because the wage margins were low and the expectations for customer service was high.

Overall, though, Clark learned good customer service skills and an understanding of how business worked. 

  “It was a really tough business, but it positioned me to do something better,” Clark said.

In 2002 he decided to get back to school. Clark was commissioned as an officer and did six months of training to be a lawyer. Life went on.

California was where his life hit another turning point. Clark started active duty with the Marine Corps in 2004. 

At a minimum of every three years on active duty, Clark changed jobs. Some of his jobs included being a prosecutor, a defense counsel, tax attorney, helping Marines do taxes, and an attorney working on crimes against children.

Also at this time Clark got engaged to his wife, (whom he met in ninth grade on a foreign exchange trip to France). Together they created a new business: 

Funnily, they came up with this business after a night of sleeping in a hotel room. 

Clark said that a restful night at the Marriott hotel had him and his wife scrounging for the hotel pillow to buy for themselves. It was soft, round, and everything Clark had dreamt of for the perfect pillow. He noted that sleeping on this pillow was a breath of fresh air after months of nights on government ordered military pillows. 

“[ was] a lot more fun [than the electronics business]; we had good margins, we could take care of customers, and we were really committed to finding them a pillow to help them sleep better,” Clark said.

Clark wanted to settle down with his wife, and that later led to him leaving active duty and moving to. In 2007, Clark went into the Marine Corps Reserve.

While in the Marine Corps Reserve, Clark often switches positions. Currently, Clark has gone back to being a prosecutor. His official title is the Assistant General Counsel (or the Deputy Staff Judge Advocate for the Fourth Division).

For the most part (in both active duty and the Marine Corps Reserve), Clark volunteers to go on a deployment every time he is promoted in military rank. Besides gaining cultural knowledge, deployments look good when he is being considered for future promotions. 

Clark’s most recent deployment took place in Sep. through Mar. of 2020. Clark was a Lieutenant Colonel and deployed to Kuwait. He spent 40-50 days up in Iraq serving on an operations billet (titled Operation Inherent Resolve) and overseeing operations on behalf of the Marine Corps. His job was to keep communications running between the commanding general and soldiers. 

“[I thought] this was a great opportunity to…do something really interesting,” Clark said. 

He doesn’t expect to go overseas for about four to five years from now – that’s when he will reach Colonel status.

Throughout the interview, Clark spoke about his time in the military in a voice thick with passion. At one point, though, the atmosphere shifted. Clark’s tone balanced on the lines of pensive and spirited while he explained how valuable his military experience was.

“People thank me for a service; but I’d also say that, you know, I got a lot out of it too,” Clark said, “It made me who I am today: a better father, teacher, coach, [and] business owner.” 

After learning a tremendous amount of life lessons, Clark started settling down and exploring his other interests. 

In 2016, his life flipped upside down for the better. Although he enjoyed his time growing up to this point, Clark’s life was forever stained by a happy yellow the day he started coaching Creek track and cross country.

“The best thing I was doing in my life was working with the student athletes,” Clark said.

Finding this joy made Clark step down as CEO from He wanted to start preparing to become a teacher down the road.

Two weeks before school started, Clark had the opportunity to apply to Creek. He was elated after the news of his acceptance. Clark is now a full time teacher in CP world history, American Government, and Street Law.

“[Clark] told us in his interview that Creek is the only place he wanted to teach,” Creek’s Social Studies Coordinator Michael Kraft said. “He didn’t know if he didn’t get this job, but he said he would wait until we had the one that he wanted because he really wants to be here.”

Clark still has responsibilities in the Marine Corps. Reserve, and will be gone two days in the springtime for his work. But he explained that teaching is his life passion, and what he wants to pursue now is his life as a teacher.

“I learned a lot and did a lot of interesting things, but I’m much happier to be with my family and [embark] on my teaching job this year,” Clark said.